Notes on cataloguing a wood type collection.
These notes are based on discussions with several people, plus my own experience of cataloguing and creating a Wood Type website. (www.thecollectingbug.com/worldofwoodtype/ ).
Purpose of Cataloguing
Internally – to organize and catalog the collection for:
- identification – what fonts, in what styles and sizes are in the collection. This enhances usability if you can quickly locate a font.
- security and authority – an authoritative inventory of what each font consists of, and if for any reason letters get mixed up or go missing, there is a record to refer back to.
- scholarship – all manner of text, historical background, image and URL links can be attached to each record (ie font). So everything that is known, or not known about a specific font is all in one place.
- cloud based – the entire collection is at your fingertips, every where you are
Externally – to make this same information (all or partially), to interested visitors the website. In addition:
- by making the collection available to wider audiences, unidentified fonts may be identified
- orphans and sorts may find homes
- artists can plan a project by looking through the online catalog
- dissemination of wood type information
Steps in Cataloguing
- Plan what you want to do – ie what will it look like when it is finished? What will it be used for?
- Determine how you hold and share this data. In the past, this was usually through physical manuals or binders, and of limited use and accessibility. For the purposes of these notes, I am talking about creating and using an online website catalog.
- Create the data for each record (font). Typically this would be: unique identifying number / style / size / manufacturer / dating / location / provenance etc.
- Visually record the font - There are two ways – printing a proof of each font OR taking a photograph of each font. These are not mutually exclusive, you can do both. For example, you can print a few representative letters from the font, then take a photo of the complete font.
Steps 3 and 4 can be in either order, or concurrent.